WhatsApp has been under fire for imposing its new Facebook-or-die privacy policy. The sheer criticism regarding this move has not only forced it to delay the implementation deadline but also caused an exodus that is seeing users flock to Telegram and Signal. Dealing yet another blow to the Facebook-owned messaging service is a letter written by an Indian government ministry that asks WhatsApp to withdraw the new privacy policy altogether.

As a refresher, the new policy was announced a couple of weeks and it stated that certain data would be shared with Facebook. Additionally, the app also set a now-extended deadline that would require users to agree to the new terms of service by February 8 if they intended to continue using the app.

In response, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) in India has written to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart to request the withdrawal of proposed changes to the privacy policy for users in the country. The letter includes several hard-hitting points, one of which questions the differential treatment of the European Union where the privacy policy remains unchanged.

The government seeks clarification about what sort of data WhatsApp collects and raises concerns about how sharing data with Facebook may create security risks and vulnerabilities for users.

With over 400 million users, India represents the largest market for WhatsApp. This, along with the fact that it plays a strategic role in the $5.7B investment made by Facebook in India's largest telco, means that this development may have significant ramifications for the company's plans. We'll update this story as it unfolds.

Indian govt. maintains its stand

The Indian government has filed a counter-affidavit in the high court to restrain WhatsApp from rolling out the new privacy policy update, which goes into effect in two months.  According to the filing, the Facebook-owned company hasn't addressed the privacy concerns raised by the IT ministry, and the new policy will violate several local laws if implemented.  WhatsApp hasn't responded to this development yet but we expect that to happen soon.